Monthly Archive for October, 2008

Corn Gelato w/ Candied Jalapenos

Well, It looks like it will be the end of the growing season this week in St. Louis. We are supposed to get temperatures in the lower 30’s tonight. Oh, well, farewell to summer and the long warm evenings :-(

As a send off to the growing season, I wanted to do a gelato w/ some of the final fresh local corn that I could find at the market. I love spicy stuff, especially peppers, combined w/ sweet goodness, so I tried candying some jalapenos to add to the mix. For some reason, I had limited success w/ candying these little devils! (see cooking notes following the recipe)

Corn Gelato w/ Candied Jalapenos

Ingredients:

4 ears yellow corn

4 jalapenos

1 quart half & half

1 cup sugar (plus 1 cup for candying jalapenos)

6 egg yolks

Procedure:

1) Grill corn and jalapenos (halved w/ seeds and ribs removed) until slightly charred; let cool, then cut corn kernels off cobs and cut jalapenos into 1/4 inch squares

2) Reserve corn kernels in a bowl; spread jalapeno squares evenly on a parchment lined sheet pan

3) Heat mixture of 1 cup sugar and 1/8 cup water in a heavy pot  until sugar becomes amber in color, then pour over jalapeno squares; when cool, break jalapeno squares from caramelized sugar and reserve for churning process

4) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining cup of sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow

5) Place half & half and corn kernels in a heavy pot and heat until scalded 

6) Strain corn from half and half  then puree in a food processor until smooth (adding a small amount of the half & half to assist in pureeing process); push corn puree through a coarse sieve to get the juice; discard remaining solids

7) Very slowly add warm half & half to egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture

8) Place bowl w/ mixture over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon (do not let mixture exceed 170 degrees F to prevent curdling), then quickly place bowl in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and promote rapid cooling

9) Stir corn juice into cooling mixture

10) Once cool, refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight

11) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding candied jalapenos when mixture begins to thicken
12) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container and quickly stir to evenly distribute the candied jalapenos
13) Place a piece of parchment paper cut to size on the surface of  gelato (this will reduce air exposure and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface of the gelato), seal container and freeze until firm          

Yield: Approx. 1 1/2 quarts 

Cooking notes:

I’m not sure why, but the caramelized sugar didn’t harden around the jalapeno squares. The surrounding sugar hardened, however, the area directly touching the jalapenos remained syrupy! Maybe there’s a compound in the jalapenos that interacts w/ the sugar which prevents the sugar from hardening. I consulted my Harold McGee food science book, “On Food and Cooking,” to see if he had an explanation for this phenomenon. Surprisingly, I found nothing in his book! I will continue w/ my quest to find the answer when I get back home later this week. Honestly, I thought you could candy (or maybe the correct term is caramelize) pretty much anything. Really… I mean I’ve candied many things, even my fingers (by mistake of course, but it was such a sweet pain!!). I will try doing the jalapenos again after doing more research, and post the results (good or bad).

I took this gelato to some friends’ house to have for dessert after a spicy meal. The taste testers consensus was… everyone gave it a big thumbs up despite it being a weird flavor for gelato. It turned out to be the perfect ending to our meal of lamb stew w/ harissa and Israeli couscous!

Happy Halloween everyone…

Bruno

 

More Bounty from the Garden – Fall Harvest

I beat the squirrels and rabbits this time!! It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve learned that I have to pick my tomatoes while they’re still a little green, otherwise the yard critters snatch them off the vines before I do!!

Notes for next year: marigolds, bone meal and a better fence:

Someone reminded me that the scent of marigolds is a natural repellent for rabbits and squirrels. So is bone meal. (So is urine, but I’m not going there!) Next year the fence will be higher, stronger and extended below the surface. The squirrels have learned to jump over the current fence to get what they want, and the rabbits have either dug under the fence or crashed right through it!! These are the lessons learned in my first year of gardening, so squirrels and rabbits take note, I’m on to you… but I will share my bounty if you cooperate :-)

I’m having a caprese salad for lunch today…

Bruno